Faculty & Professional Learning Communities
FPLCs are cross-disciplinary groups of 8-10 faculty, staff, and administrators who meet throughout the academic year to share their experiences, learn from one another, and explore the literature on the latest pedagogical and curricular trends. Each FPLC is facilitated by two people, usually a faculty member and an administrator/staff member. FPLCs also concentrate on the social aspects of building community; off-campus retreats and conferences include times for fun, and some gatherings during the year will also include family and guests. The FPLCs have a curriculum designed to address a special campus teaching and learning need, issue, or opportunity that are tied to the institutional strategic plan.
The FPLCs at Suffolk are topic-based. Topic-based FPLCs have a curriculum designed to address a special campus teaching and learning need, issue, or opportunity. These FPLCs provide opportunities for learning across all faculty ranks and cohorts and make appropriate professional staff members available to focus on a specific theme. For example, the topics chosen in AY2013-2014 were Hybrid Teaching & Learning, Multicultural Competencies, and Innovative & Entrepreneurial Thinking. In 2014-2015, the topics were Experiential Learning, Service Learning, Internationalization, and Gameful Learning. In 2015-2016, the topics were Integrative Learning, Photovoice in Service Learning, and Documentation in Experiential Learning.
After forming, each FPLC will collaboratively identify a measurable outcome tied to their group’s topic that they will work to achieve throughout the year-long community. Each FPLC will also collaboratively decide on their budget allocation. Each FPLC gets a budget for the year. Following a semester of reading and scholarly engagement (fall), each FPLC participant will be expected to propose (through an IRB application) and implement a pedagogical or curricular change in their classroom based on the theme of their FPLC in the spring semester. Possible examples of outcomes include the incorporation and evaluation of hybrid learning activities, the implementation and assessment of new diversity-based curricula, or the measurement of innovative thinking through a new survey tool.
Co-facilitators of FPLCs coordinate group members to meet every three weeks throughout the fall and spring semesters, help group members decide the best ways to use their FPLC budget, and support the design of individual classroom research projects including the submission of IRB proposals. Facilitators also meet regularly with CTSE staff.